TGt Meets... Stephen K Amos
We had a chat with comic maestro Stephen K Amos about his upcoming 'Bread and Circuses' show at the Swindon Arts Centre on November 16th. Here's what you can expect!
What can the Swindon Arts Centre audience expect from your show, ‘Bread and Circuses’?
We all know how the world is looking like a circus as it churns out more events that leave us mouth opened. So, why not forget the negative news and have a right laugh. I've been on the road for a while and have stories, some I may have made up, to make you belly laugh.
How did you discover that you could tell a good joke/story?
I had a knack of doing impressions and equally not concentrating at school, for some reason, this combination proved quite successful in getting attention. I had no idea that coming from a large family would be so helpful in helping me to find my own voice. If there's silence, why not fill it with a joke? As with any job, the more you enjoy, commit and get on with it, you can only get better.
Where did the inspiration for the ‘Bread and Circuses’ tour come from?
Touring the world, I suddenly thought that the Brexit and Trump results have left us in an odd place. Some of us feel like outsiders looking on at the mayhem.
The circus is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the world. Everybody loved and went to the circus.Featuring clowns, trained animals, trapeze, ringmaster and an enthusiastic audience. There's s hint of danger, risk-taking, humour and horror. All the things we are actually seeing in the world today.
There was also a time when bread was considered the stable diet for the poor..now there's artisan bread costing quite a bit of money. I think we should all eat cake!
What do you miss about home when you’re on tour?
I miss my bed, my very comfy large bed. I can walk around my own house wearing nothing, feeling free. This doesn't work quite so well in a hotel lobby. I've never got lost in my own home. I once mistook the wardrobe for the main door during a hotel stay. Cue black eye.
Do you think that your comedy routines have changed much over the years?
I think we all evolve and strive to be better at what we do. The things that I talked about 10/15 years ago possibly don't concern me as much now. Moving on with the times and being socially aware is very important. Social media has certainly made things more accessible but also runs the risk of making us lazy and wanting things immediately. The older I've become the less I feel the need to tolerate bs.
Who were your comedy idols while growing up?
Comedy was never in my consciousness as a kid growing up in London. I didn't see or was aware of any comedian on TV, film or radio that spoke to me.
When you’re not on stage, how do you like to spend your free time?
I like to spend time with my family and friends. The nature of the job means you can miss certain social events. I like to make up for it by having a good old chat and catch up.
Looking back what would you say some of your career highlights have been?
There have been so many memorable moments that I am so grateful for. The fact that I'm still here, doing this job, on my own terms is incredible. It's very difficult to choose a particular highlight.
I've travelled the world, got to make tv, stage and radio shows. I even published my memoir "I Used To Say My Mother Was Shirley Bassey". I get to go on stage and say whatever I want. I did a West End run of a successful play. I sold over 17000 tickets during a run at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
If anyone had told 16yr old me, that any of these things would happen, I'd have said, don't take the piss!
I am eternally grateful.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a career as a comedian?
Don't think because you see comedians on tv that it's easy. Don't do it if you're looking for a fast track into tv or film.
Commit to it, learn on the job, find your own unique voice. Write what you find funny and practice and practice.
Remember, an audience doesn't want to see you fail.
Don't be disheartened, there will be good and bad gigs along the way. But seriously, what's the worst that can happen?
What’s next for Stephen K Amos after the tour?
I will be recording a pilot for a new tv project. Heading back on tour in Australia, America and Europe. I'm also waiting to hear if we will do series 4 of my sitcom "What Does The K Stand For?"